Collect 'em all!
Editor's note: Due to the rousing success of the "Sexy Astronomers of History" series in September 2012, The Typing Monkey has followed Hollywood's lead by offering a sequel nobody asked for. Enjoy.
Alexander Hermann aka Hermann the Great
(Feb 10, 1844 - Dec 17, 1896)
Profession-changing contribution: Herrmann capitalized on his Mephistophelian appearance and openly comedic performance to build his following. His performances were as much about the humor as they were about his illusions, sleight-of-hand tricks and road-tested magic. As a result, he was a favorite of the American public at the height of the Victorian era.
Fun fact: Herrmann was the youngest of 16 children. His father, Samuel, was a physician who dabbled in magic performance. The eldest son, Compars (aka Carl), became a famous magician in Europe and, upon seeing Alexander's natural skill "kidnapped" his 8-year-old brother, taking him on tour with him throughout Russia, while the family fretted back in France. The brothers performed as a duo for many years before Alex went solo.